Saturday, December 17, 2011

Creation & a Christmas Consecration

Creation in a Carol
Adam's likeness now efface, Stamp Thine image in its place.
Second Adam from above, reinstate us in Thy love.
(Hark the Herald Angels Sing)

Christmas is the celebration that the Creator stepped into His creation.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
"The Word became flesh and dwelt among us." (John 1:1, 14)

Jesus, as God and the Creator of the universe, took on human flesh. He entered His universe of time, space, and matter as a tiny, vulnerable baby. Why? He did so out of a pure love for the creation that He had made, for man, the only creature that was made in His image with a free will to choose good or evil. In Genesis, we read that man chose evil in what is referred to as "the fall." This choice brought perfect punishment from the perfect God of creation: judgment of disease, destruction, and death. However, the Creator had a plan to make all things new. His plan was to come to earth to pay for man's sin debt and to make right all of the wrong he had done. It is because of Christmas that all of the evil today can be made right. What was broken in the "fall" when, in the Garden of Eden, Adam introduced evil into the universe, will be justified through what Jesus did.

"For as in Adam all die..." (1 Corinthians 15:22)

Evil is evident everywhere. Massacres such as that of Columbine, Virginia Tech, 9/11, the Holocaust and abortion; other evils such as sodomy, rape, adultery, divorce, infanticide, euthanasia, genocide, theft, bribery, greed, lust, lying and much more are results of the Biblical origin of evil. Lucifer rebelled against God in seeking to "be like the most High" (Isaiah 14: 14). He, along with a third of the angelic host who followed him, was cast down to earth where he tempted Adam & Eve in the form of a serpent.

"Yea, hath God said?" (Genesis 3-1)

Adam listened. Whereas his wife was deceived and therefore not held fully accountable (not being the head of the human race), Adam was created first and held the responsibility as he not only wrongly listened to his wife, but also was fully aware of his choice to rebel against His Creator's one command.

"And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." (1 Timothy 2:14)

Today, we see the results of Eden. Though all mankind is under the bondage of sin, and all sin will be judged by the perfect and holy Creator, mankind can be free from sin’s bondage! He can be a "new creation" in Christ Even though we have sinned due to the sin nature we received from the fall of Adam, as head of the human race, we can now be completely forgiven, made righteous even though we are unrighteous! THIS is the message of Christmas... that Adam's likeness might be effaced (wiped away), and HIS IMAGE stamped in its place! Hallelujah! The image marred by Adam's rebellion can ONLY be restored by complete faith and trust in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection for sin.

"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (l Corinthians 15:22)

Evil in the world has been conquered... in Christ! The choice now is up to each individual as to whether he or she will accept the payment Christ made, or go their own way. Will you choose the way of Adam (rebellion) or the way of Christ (obedience)?

From Confusion to Corruption
"No wonder that Brigadier General F. D. Frost stated, "There is no doubt. . .that the doctrine of evolution is the greatest curse in our educational system'.... This philosophy seeks to... reduce man to the level of animal nature .... The surging unrest, the broken homes, the increasing divorce cases, the multiplied. . . criminals are but the inevitable outcome of the acceptance and practice of . . . evolutionary doctrine." (H. Enock, Evolution or Creation; 1966, pp. 1146-1147)

The idea that man is nothing more than a highly evolved animal would be devastating to the commitment of marriage. While some organisms mate for life, others live in groups or even change sex. Do humans fit into one of these categories simply because they think they can or because they have the ability to choose a particular physical relationship? A growing idea that some humans are 'born' desiring another of the same sex for 'marital relations' is only an indication that man comes into this world with an innate propensity to do that which is contrary to the design of his Creator. This design was communicated to us in the Record, the Bible, and has been exhibited in human behavior through the ages. Those who choose to live contrary to His design find themselves facing spiritual, emotional, or physical heartache.

Some think that they were 'made' this 'way,' and believe this, in part, due to the "Kinsey reports," false 'science' that used cadavers and abused small children. The cadavers had a slightly smaller portion of the brain of "gay" men, but such a finding is skewed in that the lifestyle the men lived could have caused this! It was an assumption to think that a characteristic of a dead person is indicative of an innate desire from birthl The Kinsey studies using children are too graphic to describe here, but they basically involved child abuse against even babies in the name of "science."

The confusion wrought by evolutionary concepts extends far outside the classroom to the culture. The crime we see prevalent today, along with the breakdown of the family, can easily be tied to a teaching that there is no moral absolute found in an ultimate Law Giver, God. Hence, men are free to do as they choose with no One higher than themselves to tell what is right and wrong. In no other aspect of society is this worldview so clearly seen than in marriage.

A Christmas Commitment
"Now the birth of Jesus was on this wise... as his mother... was espoused to Joseph...." Matt. 1:19

Mary had been committed to Joseph in a culture that afforded protections to marriage not generally seen in modern times. The closest idea is the practice of engagement. The espousal agreement of Biblical times was an agreement that could only be dissolved legally and for certain purposes. This is why Joseph was "minded to put her away (divorce) privily" after he discovered that Mary was with child, as there was only one way that she could have a child before marriage and that was through immorality. However, God sent an angel to affirm to Joseph that this was not a cause for legal divorce, but a special miracle of God!
It is clear from Scripture that this Baby was miraculous, as God chose to record for us the fact that Mary was with child "before they came together" and that He was "of the Holy Ghost." He also had the writer include the fact that the angel Gabriel said to Joseph,
"... fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife..." (Matthew 1:20)

This phrase means that Joseph and Mary were already husband and wife and that the espousal agreement was marriage. The only difference is that they had not yet "come together" for physical oneness. It bears repeating that there is nothing in modern American culture that is equivalent to this ancient concept.

While there are many who think that divorce or remarriage is acceptable with God, they are sadly mistaken. In His Word, He tells us that He "hates" divorce.

"For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away (or, divorce): for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously." (Malachi 2:16)

We read in Genesis of God's design for Adam & Eve when He brought them together as husband and wife to be "one flesh." This creation account communicates three basic concepts:

1. That God made humans special and very different from animals.
2. That He designed them as a man and a woman, different from but made for each other.
3. That He designed them to be "one flesh," i.e., in a permanent relationship.

What if Joseph had "put away" Mary? He certainly had a legal right to do so. If so, this would have been the end of the Christmas story! But he didn't, and we now have the beautiful account that we celebrate every year! Joseph's obedience to God and faithfulness to his wife, Mary, is critical to Christmas!

Like Joseph, Jesus has every right to bring against us just and legal proceedings because of our sin against the Creator, sin for which we must suffer the punishment of a literal, eternal, and fiery hell. Does He? No! Instead, He willingly gave Himself for us. He came to this world full of evil and gave His life in ransom for ours! Hallelujah, what a Savior!

The message in the Christmas account is clear: be consecrated to God and to your spouse! How?

1. Realize that your body does not belong to you.
1 Corinthians 6:19 ".. .your body is the temple of the Holy are not your own?"

2. Realize that any relationship (marriage, dating, etc.) is not to please oneself but the LORD and the other individual.
1 Corinthians 10:31 "do all to the glory of God."

3. Realize that marriage is a solemn vow for life and that God hates divorce.
Malachi 2:16 "For the LORD...hateth patting away...."

4. Realize that any steps leading to divorce are contrary to the design of God.
Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

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